Masterpiece Smiles April 2019

APRIL 2019


Renaissance READER


How I Developed a Love for Landscaping

About seven years ago, I told Susie that I needed a larger canvas to fulfill my landscaping dreams. We purchased a cabin close to where I grew up in Kansas and began the process of refreshing the property. I’m very fond of evergreens, so we decided that at least 50 percent of the trees would be coniferous. Over the years, we’ve added shrubbery, flowers, and anything you can think of. It’s a continuous project and one that reaps new rewards every year. Traveling throughout the country has served as an inspiration for my landscaping. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the privilege of flying over New England in the fall, but if you have, you’ll know the view is truly remarkable. All throughout the area, the foliage is beautiful. While living there, I learned that maples are responsible for much the beautiful fall colors. I also learned how to pronounce foliage as a three-syllable world (fol-ee-idge) rather than the two-syllable variant more popular in these parts. To bring a little of the Northeast colors to Kansas, we’ve planted some maples and red oaks. It’s beautiful to watch them turn in the fall, especially alongside the evergreens. Together, they add up to a palate worthy of the majesty of the scenery surrounding them. At this time of year, the blossoms are coming up and landscaping season is beginning in earnest. That may send a shiver down the spines of my kids who know they are about to be assigned hours of unpaid manual labor,

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fondness for the natural world. Trees, in particular, have been a constant source of study in my life. I take pride in trying to become a living, breathing field guide. When I’m on a road trip with Susie, I’ll often ask if she can identify a specific tree. It’s a great game for a car ride, though I have to play quizmaster rather than contestant. Strangely, plant identification is not a skill that’s taught in any detail in schools. I’ve found in my own pursuits that a little horticultural knowledge goes a long way in increasing my appreciation of nature. As I’ve grown older, my passion for landscaping has only grown. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still happy to have a hand with grunt-work tasks like mowing the lawn — that’s what kids are for, right? — but I take an active role in the planning, planting, and maintenance of our landscape at home. It gets me outside, keeps me active, and provides us with plenty of beauty to appreciate every day. As far as I can tell, it’s a hobby without any drawbacks. “I CAN’T WAIT TO LITERALLY GET INTO THE WEEDS AND SEE WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2019.”

but for me it’s a welcome sight. I can’t wait to literally get into the weeds and see what’s in store for 2019. I hope everyone has a hobby that gets them out and moving during the most beautiful months of the year. It certainly doesn’t have to be landscaping — I understand if that sounds more painful than pleasurable to you — but it should be something rewarding and invigorating. Excitement and new experiences are what spring is all about.

-Dr. Jan L. Cobble

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